In early April we were lucky to have a beautiful young lady who was on Spring Break from school. She’d never posed before but did a wonderful job. I’ve run out of grey Mi-Tients paper so I’ve moved on to a couple of brown sheets I’ve been saving. It’s amazing what happens when you use a different background color. Everything shifts. The colors that worked on grey don’t feel right on brown so it forced me to try new color and value combinations. On this dark background, almost every color I applied was lighter than the drawing surface. Its a whole new way of working. I think I have at least one more brown sheet left to experiment on. And then I can try some black sheets that I have been afraid of. Now that’s really going to take some re-evaluation of my usual process!
Here’s a shot of the painting in progress with Eadoin posing;
When my sister and I visited Chicago last month, I visited museums and art galleries, but I also took a lot of reference photos from my new interior series. This is the corner breakfast cafe where we ate every morning. I liked the idea of focusing on a people at a table, deep in conversation. The viewer can build a story around what is happening and feel a human presence that I have not often had in my paintings. Its a new direction and a new medium for me. I’m really feeling inspired by it!
As I experiment with this oil, I’ve been trying different types of substrates for my paintings. I’ve used traditional stretched canvas, stretched linen, canvas panels, linen panels, yupo, gessoed paper, foamcore, you name it. But what I keep coming back to is stretched linen and linen panels. There is just something about the texture that seems to work the way I like to paint. When I want to leave the thinly painted darks, a nice, fine texture shows through. When I want to load on the paint for the lighter areas of the painting, it allows me to obliterate that woven effect. Right now I am using Centurione Oil Primed Linen because I read that a few of my favorite plein air painters use it. It’s quite affordable, especially when JerrysArtArama has a sale and free shipping. I just received a big order that should carry me through the first part of the plein air season.
Usually our figure drawing class is set up for quick sketches, not long poses. We start with a few 2- or 5-minute poses then move on to 10 and then finish off with 20-minute poses. Its all about capturing the figure quickly and intuitively. For these sessions, I almost always use charcoal or pastel.
But sometimes our trusty leader, Nora Venturelli, schedules a long pose: 3 luscious hours with the model in the exact same position. Time to bring out the (water-soluble) oils. I haven’t tried many figure paintings in oil yet because it seems really, really scarey to try and capture the whole body in this new, volatile medium. But I was pleased with the outcome of this piece. My main goal was to capture the strength and beauty of Jason’s body, hopefully in a somewhat anatomically correct way. Having the time to look and adjust, look and adjust, was really helpful in constructing the proportions of this oil portrait.
Wow! I’ve been notified that I had TWO paintings accepted into the International Association of Pastel Societies PastelWorld Exhibition. The show is in Alburquerque, New Mexico this year in conjunction with the IAPS National Convention from June 3-7. I am soooo honored to be included and yet heart broken that I won’t be able to see the whole show. Some year soon, I’d love to attend that convention. I hear amazing teachers and vendors participate, and some of the best pastelists in the world attend. They even go out plein air painting together. Wouldn’t that be a great way to extend my pastel education?
Some of the docked sailboats in the Harbor Springs harbor in northern Michigan. We visit every year and its one of my favorite places to photograph and paint.
The harbor is located just a couple of blocks from one of my favorite galleries: Tvedten Fine Art. I had my eye on that gallery for years, but Margaret carries a stable of established and accomplished artists and I knew I would have to bump my game to be included. About six years ago she took me on and I have been so pleased with her representation of me. She’s also been a great source of painting advice and encouragement. The gallery is celebrating its 20th year this summer, quite a feat in the recent economy. Stop by if you are “up north!” (That’s Margaret zooming by the gallery below…)
Tvedten Fine Art
284 E. Third St., Harbor Springs, MI 49740